In the ongoing battle to deprive Mideast terrorists of financial support, one member of Congress vows he’ll make sure a group of violent extremists gets cash from U.S. taxpayers.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., defended U.S. funding of the Palestinian Authority, even though it includes members of Hamas, which the United States classifies as a terrorist organization.
Connolly’s remarks, at a Sept. 28 Arab-American candidate forum, emphasized his determination to fight House of Representatives colleagues who might block the funding.
“When there are voices calling for the defunding of the Palestinian Authority, I oppose them, publicly,” Connolly said. “In fact, I signed a letter signed by Congressman David Price of North Carolina, also signed by Jim (Moran, D-Va.) that said we are not going to defund the Palestinian Authority. That would guarantee an explosion in an already volatile situation.
“When there was a motion to close the Palestinian Authority office here in Washington or let it just be in New York, I opposed it and said it would be a terrible blow to diplomacy and not in [the] U.S. interest, let alone Palestine’s interest.”
Noah Silverman, Republican Jewish Coalition congressional affairs director, called Connolly’s remarks troubling.
“A vow to support taxpayer funding for a Palestinian government that includes Hamas demonstrates reckless indifference to our ally Israel and a disregard for U.S. law, which forbids aid to such a government,” Silverman said.
Suzanne Scholte, Connolly’s Republican challenger in November, posted the audio clip of Connolly’s remarks on her YouTube page.
Connolly’s congressional office and campaign did not respond to phone call and email requests for comment.